SEATTLE (AP) — Already battered and emotionally spent having watched their final chance at staying in the NFC West race slip away, the Seattle Seahawks walked into the locker room and absorbed another blow.
They're about to be without Tyler Lockett, one of their top wide receivers, for an undetermined amount of time due to a broken bone in his hand.
“Just add it to the night,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said.
Seattle losing 21-13 to San Francisco on Thursday night was bad enough. It was the fourth loss in five games for Seattle (7-7) and clinched the NFC West title for the 49ers. It was the second time in four seasons that San Francisco wrapped up the division on the Seahawks' home field.
But the news afterward was a gut punch. Lockett got hurt on Seattle’s final possession. Lockett was hit hard and appeared to fall awkwardly on an incomplete pass with 3:47 remaining.
“Index finger, right in here, you know. It’s legit and all that," Carroll said. “We got to figure out what’s the right way to go. I can’t even fathom that, playing without Tyler.”
Carroll did not identify which hand was hurt. He said all options are being discussed about how to treat the injury, including surgery.
Lockett is not expected to be available for next Saturday’s game at Kansas City but told Carroll he hopes to return for Week 17 against the New York Jets.
Lockett had seven catches for 68 yards, but his streak of six straight games with a touchdown catch came to an end.
“He’s not in tremendous pain. Just got a broken hand. No need to feel sorry for him," Carroll said. "But he’s such a magnificent football player and a member of a team and member of a community in our area and fans. We’re going to miss the heck out of him, whatever he misses.”
Seattle also lost defensive tackle Bryan Mone to a knee injury in the first quarter. Carroll said it was an ACL injury.
But Lockett's injury was the capper to a night when Seattle was overpowered by its division rival. San Francisco controlled nearly every facet, even as the Seahawks showed moderate improvement in their run game and run defense after struggling badly in both areas of late.
Still, it was also another example of the gap between where Seattle is and where it needs to be to compete with a playoff team like 49ers.
“Now is not the time to separate and I don’t see that happening for this team,” Seattle quarterback Geno Smith said. “Really just locking in together. We got to make the most of these three games.”
Smith was among the most frustrated players on Seattle's sideline as the night progressed and moving the ball on offense remained a struggle.
Seattle scored its first offensive points in two games against the 49ers midway through the second quarter on Jason Myers’ 38-yard field goal. Seattle’s only points in the first matchup in Week 2 came on a blocked field goal returned for a touchdown.
But the Seahawks followed with a pair of critical mistakes. Quandre Diggs dropped a potential interception that would have given Seattle the ball on San Francisco’s side of the field. And Travis Homer fumbled on a big hit by Dre Greenlaw at the Seattle 41 with 1:08 left in the second quarter. The fumble was returned 35 yards by Charvarius Ward, and Christian McCaffrey scored to give the 49ers a 14-3 lead.
“That's a big momentum shift, though. ... It's on me. I dropped it,” Diggs said.
Seattle still has a path to the postseason but the road doesn't get easier with a trip to Kansas City next week. The Seahawks play their last two games at home.
“Here’s the thing, we have no other option other than to go out there and get these W's," Seattle defensive lineman Shelby Harris said. "I mean, our goals are still in front of us. Obviously, we made it a little bit harder.”
AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL